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Wednesday, 14 August, 2002, 12:48 GMT 13:48 UK
Film industry 'racist', says Guru star
Jimi Mistry
Jimi Mistry: Propelled to film stardom in The Guru
The Guru star Jimi Mistry has attacked what he calls implicit racism in film and television, saying he only gets offered parts tailored for Asian actors.

Mistry was speaking before the opening of the Edinburgh Film Festival, which takes place on Wednesday with the premiere of UK film Morvern Callar.

The former EastEnders and East is East star said it was hard to get "interesting work" because of producers' attitudes, Mistry told The Scotsman.

"What gets me is that I will get seen for a part because they're saying to themselves, 'Jimi's a good Asian actor'.

I don't fit the picture

Jimi Mistry
"There's a completely unnecessary word in there."

Mistry, born in the UK of an Indian father and Irish mother, played Dr Fred Fonseca in EastEnders before starring in East is East, the tale of a mixed-race family living in 1960s Salford.

Despite progress made in casting British Asians in mainstream drama, Mistry told the newspaper too many roles were stereotypes.

East is East was a box office hit in the UK
"Maybe I make too much of an issue of it, but there are parts I refuse.

"When I started, I kept getting scripts for Ali, and parts like that.

"I thought 'What is this? I'm just trying to get interesting work and I don't want my background or race to be an issue'.

"I know there are other actors my age who'll get parts I'll never get a look at. Because I don't fit the picture."

He pointed to his role in The Guru where he plays an Indian immigrant in the US and said people wrongly assumed it was easy for him to play such parts.

'Silverback' taunt

Meanwhile, leading feminist writer and academic Germaine Greer has used the Edinburgh book festival to launch a blistering personal attack on the Blairs' marriage.

The Female Eunuch author compared Tony Blair to a silverback - a dominant male gorilla - and said he should curtail his sex life for the good of his wife Cherie.

Greer said their relationship was "weird" and that Mrs Blair was restricted in her important job as a top human rights lawyer.

Leave her alone for Christ's sake, she's 47 years old

Germaine Greer
Mrs Blair - who gave birth to fourth child Leo two years ago - is recovering from a recent miscarriage.

Also speaking at the book festival, former Northern Ireland secretary Mo Mowlam savaged the plans for an attack on Iraq.

Insisting Parliament should be recalled, she argued: "You don't beat terrorists by bombing and shooting. All that does is increase work for the recruitment officers for terrorists."

Tim Robbins
Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon's show The Guys has sold out
Meanwhile, festivalgoers are eagerly awaiting the sold out performances of The Guys, starring Hollywood couple Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins.

The staged reading of Anne Nelson's hit play is running for three nights and is currently Edinburgh's hottest ticket.

It is based on Nelson's experiences helping a fire chief compose eulogies for firefighters who died in the World Trade Center.

Coverage of the 2002 Edinburgh Festival from BBC News Online

The buzz

In focus

Fringe diarists




Fireworks at the Palace

Edinburgh festival

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22 Jun 01 | Entertainment
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